Heavy lift and abnormal freight experts at Tuscor Lloyds have just completed a shipment of a specialist Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) on behalf of a large multinational oil and gas contractor.
The high tech robotic vehicle is used for critical explorations of deep sea oilfields. The size and complexity of the machine meant that it was necessary to ship the unit in pieces. Components listed by the shipper included a composite ‘A’ frame, a deck cart, and the workshop and control vans. Also included was a 45 tonne umbilical winch, which required a special lifting team and equipment. The loading crew were to meet the cargo at port and a suitable crane was commissioned to lift the piece straight onto the vessel. With all equipment, cargo and crew waiting at port, the tricky part was getting this accepted by the shipping line as break bulk on a standard container vessel. As we keep saying time and again here in these reports, the projects team at Tuscor Lloyds are a persistent bunch. The cargo was refused but after a few rushed phone calls and some careful persuasion they managed to get acceptance for this over-sized, over-weight piece.
As an experienced and well-known project forwarder, Tuscor Lloyds normally gets the call when the shipment is difficult or needs to be completed on a short timescale or low budget. This project cargo was a challenge in all these ways. The contractor client was relieved when the shipment departed from port in time as per agreements made with their customer. In addition, all the components travelling on the same vessel would mean quick and easy assembly of the ROV at the final destination. ROV systems are engineered to precise specifications and this cargo was no exception. The shipment had to be handled very carefully as there are sensitive mechanics and electronics built into the machine.
In the past these useful remote controlled units have been made famous by high profile salvage operations, such as the Titanic. More recently observation and maintenance crews working an ROV in the Gulf of Mexico filmed a collapsed exploratory rig leaking oil into the sea over a mile below the surface. The dramatic pictures could not have taken without ROV technology and created massive publicity when they were beamed around the world.
ROVs have an extremely important role in the development of new oilfields. Increasingly these are located out in the further reaches of underwater continental shelves. For many industries (including the oil and gas industry) demand for resources around the world requires drilling, mining and other large scale processes to be carried out in some of the most challenging environments on the planet. The ROV has become essential for the successful drilling of deep sea oilfields and it is the main tool used to carry out work in these hard to reach places.
This particular ROV system was being used for subsea surveying and exploration of the newly discovered deep sea oil fields in the South China Sea. Tuscor Lloyds was commissioned to ship the consignment up to port at Singapore. Components were picked up from various parts of the UK, some from Newcastle and some from Aberdeen.